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“Blue Is the Warmest Color”: Beyond the sex and controversy, a great love story

From the first screening of “Blue Is the Warmest Color” at Cannes last May, it was clear that this was a movie that could and would provoke strong reactions. As I wrote at the time, it was remarkable how quiet an auditorium packed with 800 or so caffeine-buzzed journalists could get. Amid the often-superficial marketplace of ideas and the petty party atmosphere of that festival, where the line between art and commodity has long since been erased, Tunisian-born French director Abdellatif Kechiche’s spellbinding love story offered an unusually intimate experience. And I’m not principally talking about the film’s now-legendary sex scenes between two young women, the first of which lasts almost 10 minutes. Those scenes were intended to be challenging and destined to be controversial, but they are woven into the film’s design, not the reasons for its existence.

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